Docosahexaenoic Acid Benefits
Docosahexaenoic acid is an essential fatty acid, which means that humans must obtain it from the diet. Docosahexaenoic acid is thought to work in a variety of different ways, such as:
- Inflammation -- Docosahexaenoic acid seems to decrease inflammation in the body by suppressing a specific enzyme (COX-2) and inflammatory chemicals such as interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF).
- Triglycerides -- Docosahexaenoic acid lowers triglyceride levels by several different mechanisms.
- Blood clotting -- Docosahexaenoic acid decreases blood viscosity (in common terms, it "thins" the blood) and has effects on red blood cells that may decrease the risk of blood clots.
- Fetal and infant development -- Docosahexaenoic acid is important for the development of the brain and neurons.
These are just a few of the ways that researchers think docosahexaenoic acid may work for a variety of conditions. As more studies are done, more information about how docosahexaenoic acid works will become available.
Docosahexaenoic acid is safe for children when consumed in normal amounts (such as those found in some infant formulas). However, do not give your child additional docosahexaenoic acid (in the form of supplements) without the approval of your child's healthcare provider.